Probably the worst day that I have had in quite some considerable time.
Remember me talking about that awful meal that I had last night? Well, it well-and-truly wreaked its revenge on me and has been doing so all day.
The surprising thing is that I managed to do as much as I did and drive as far as I did without once soiling my armour, thanks to a judicious series of pit-stops at appropriate moments.
In fact, it was identical in every respect to my stay in Verdun two and a half years ago. But knowing now what to expect, I rode it out and refused to worry myself about it.
To spare your blushes, I shan’t go into any gory details. After all, you are probably eating your lunch right now. I’ll just say that I was awake at about 05:45, 15 minutes or so before the alarm, and I was first taken by surprise about 10 minutes later.
And so the story went on. Trying to pack my suitcase while being interrupted by a dash to the bathroom or to the waste-paper bin which I had conveniently stuffed with tissues.
Eventually I felt up to leaving and took the shuttle bus to the airport to pick up my car – a lime green Kia Soul (or Key Asshole as they are known around here).
It took an age to fathom out how it locked and unlocked and I couldn’t figure out the boot at all so everything went in via the side door.
First stop was a Walmart to buy water and drink and so on, and for a pit-stop. I couldn’t find any caffeine-based energy drinks but there were plenty of vitamin drinks and some grapefruit-flavoured sparking water, as well as 3 litres of plain water. The temperature was soaring and this was 11:00. Heaven alone knows what it’s going to be like later on in the afternoon. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
Bulk Barn across the way failed to come up with my mint sweets, so I pushed on to look for the sites that related to my grandmother, Ivy Cooper.
The church where she had married in July 1918 was now a hole in the ground but I had more luck with the house where she lived – or where her parents-in-law lived.
That’s in Lewis Street, next to Clarke Street for the benefit of historians here, and is still standing – a narrow detached house of the period that extends a long way back with what looks like a second house built on behind. It’s in rather poor condition these days but it must have been magnificent 100 years ago.
Elmwood cemetery where her first husband is buried – finding it was one thing and finding the entrance was quite another – I must have done a lap all the way around Winnipeg to reach it. The Red River running right near the back of it didn’t help much.
I had a rough idea where his grave is, but the office was closed and I wasn’t up to walking very far, so I’ll have to come back again when hopefully I’ll be feeling better.
The Allen Theatre where she performed, even after the death of her husband which shows that she was still visiting the town at least, is still there. It’s now the Winnipeg Met. Parking was difficult there so I didn’t stop. I’ll have to come back here too.
So with that done, I headed south on my travels.But I hadn’t gone far before a “medical emergency” forced me to pull up at the side of the road. And then a pit stop.
Regular pit-stops were the order of the day and luckily my route south was lined with appropriate places. Even those in the the border post where I crossed into the Great Satan received a visit from me
On the subject of border crossings, this one here was probably one of the most pleasant that I’ve ever had in crossing into the USA and if they were all like that it would make my life so much easier.
There were plenty of things that I would have liked to have stopped and photographed on my way here but I was in no condition to go running around like that. In the end I crashed out for half an hour (in easy reach of a washroom) and that didn’t make me feel any easier at all.
Eventually I found my motel. The Plaza Inn in East Grand Forks, across the river from North Dakota in Minnesota. Two more states crossed off my list.
It’s blindingly hot so I was glad to call it a day.
The motel itself is cheap and tatty, but then so am I. It’s clean and comfortable which is more than I am and despite it being only 18:00 I’m crashing out.
I’m not well and I know it. But I’ve been here before and I know that it will improve at some point so I’ll have to grin and bear it. The toilet works and there’s a waste bin by the bed and that’s all that I’m interested in for now.